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Hello. My problem is that I've been overseas a little too lo

Hello. My problem is that I've been overseas a little too long.

I was in the US military, then I separated, then I worked on the base. That all took place in a couple of countries outside of the US, during the 2000s and 2010s. I've spent almost all of my adulthood either on a military base or in a foreign country.

When I was first assigned overseas, I had a comfortable idea of how Americans acted, and why they acted that way. But in my last few years overseas, I lived outside of the base, and did a lot of foreign immersion when I wasn't working. I've acclimated both to living on an overseas military community (where everything like banking and tax assistance etc is smaller and accessible), and a foreign environment with its own unique rules. But I've returned to the US, and I feel like society has changed a lot. As a result, I'm having culture shock in my home town. Has anyone had difficulty repatriating? What should I do to acclimate to America again?

Keep in mind that most Americans aren't exactly friendly people, which is an obstacle in seeking assistance with this problem. I've been telling my relatives about what I'm dealing with, but they don't know what I'm talking about.

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GirlKitty's picture
Oct 10

I've never lived on a military base and although I've visited other countries (some for extended periods of time) I've never lived overseas. However, I have lived off the mainland US (even though it was in Hawaii for 3 years). When I moved back to my home state on the mainland, I felt like I was moving back from a foreign country. Things in Hawaii were much slower and at work, people tended to worry more about the quality of life than the amount of time you spent in the office. (I even had people tell me more than once to "go home" from the office and that has never happened on the mainland). People were very generous and friendly in Hawaii. In Hawaii people always made sure I had multiple invitations to different peoples' homes during the holidays (because I had no relatives on the island). Since I've been back, I've spent two Thanksgivings and two Christmases alone (not that I mind, it's just so different than Hawaii).
I realize my experience is nothing compared to yours, and I'm truly sorry I can't really understand what you're going through. You've done a wonderful job serving our country, of which I'm very grateful, and it hurts my heart to think of you having a hard time acclimating now that you're home.
Is there any military based organization you can join close to you? There may be others in a group like that that would understand your feelings and situation.
I'm truly sorry for what you're going through and I will keep you in my thoughts. I hope things get better for you very, very soon. I truly wish you all the best!

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Oct 11

Hi. From my experience many veterans experience shock when returning home after years of deployment or living on base. My brother served for 4 years, and when he returned he struggled with many things. It is important to give yourself time to re-familiarize yourself to America. Thank you for your service!

lalalalala555's picture
Oct 11

Western Europe is not perfect but American society is riddled with crime, drug problems, divisiveness, a huge narcissism problem and other maladies such as rampant poverty, and well, a lower intelligence level than Western Europe demonstrated on standardized tests. Being from a cultured city my grandparents were all Europeans. I was lucky enough to be able to live in Western Europe in college and that is my home now. I grew up with Europeans next door, and upstairs in New York(the City). My dad was a bank exec and we lived abroad when I was a child and teen. I always lived in an international milieu and found after seeing the gorgeous architecture, meeting intelligent people and witnessing the breathtaking natural beauty of Europe, and the lifestyle(and don't forget the fresh delicious healthy food) that it is a much more cultured and healthier place to live and is much more fitting to everything I am. I believe expats like you can see what happened to society because they have been away but even in college I was aware the society was deteriorating but everyone else seemed to be like a frog in a pot not noticing the little "off" things. I would say to live in the country you feel most happy and comfortable. You can be patriotic and live abroad. Many privileged people have been able to move oversees and are happier as dual citizens, Tina Turner for one moved to Switzerland. You can always visit as I do Nothing(almost) beats New York at Christmas(except maybe many places in Western Europe ):) I hope you find peace and happiness wherever you decide to live.

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